Legal Competence and Social Functions of Executors (based on Royal Officers’ Wills in France, the End of the 14th – the Beginning of the 15th Centuries)
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Date of publication
16.07.2017
Public year
2017
Legal Competence and Social Functions of Executors (based on Royal Officers’ Wills in France, the End of the 14th – the Beginning of the 15th Centuries)
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The paper is concerned with an executor as the legal institution that appeared in the Middle Ages. An executor is descibed in the context of the royal officers’ social history with their specific culture, and corporate rules of behaviour. The paper gives a detailed analysis of legal norms (customs and royal legislastion), and the executive practice (wills of royal officers, and the participation of the Parlement of Paris in their execution). Research is based on the only surviving register of the wills in the archives of the Parlement of Paris (the original AN X1a 9807 and its complementary copy BNF Moreau 1161–1162). Out of 236 wills, 121 wills of royal officers are selected and identified, for those only officers who were on duty or were such during their lifetime. The article starts with a brief analysis of the origins and the main stages of the development of wills and executors: the wills in the Roman law, the succession in the customs, the contribution of Church in the approaching to those two opposite law systems, the appearance of spiritual testaments, and executors, the rise of competence of the royal power in the will executions. Based on the customs and the royal edicts analysis, the main important elements are shown – what property a testator has rights to testate, what restrictions he has, what legal status, scope of competence, and functions executors have. The social and cultural sense of corporate relations of royal officers was researched based on their testaments, and the Parliament’s executive practice: the presence of colleagues as executors; the nominations of executors as an expression of confidence; the executors’ right to interpret testaments’ clauses including organizing funerals and burial service; choosing tombstones and texts for epitaphs; distributing alms and books; donating money to University of Paris, colleges, and poor students.
About authors
Susanna Tsaturova
Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of World History
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